Bosnian Serb parliament tightens control over government

BANJA LUKA, Jul 8, 2000 -- (AFP) The Bosnian Serb parliament decided Friday to tighten its control over Prime Minister Milorad Dodik's government, a day after it rejected the government's self-assessment of its work since its 1998 election.

Following the decision, backed by 42 of 67 Members of Parliament who took part in the vote, the parliament will have to be informed and will discuss every decision, agreement or contract that the government makes.

The government will also have to inform the parliament about all reshuffles within both the cabinet and state-owned companies in the Republika Srpska (RS, Bosnian Serb entity).

Prime Minister Dodik was on the defensive Friday, after Republika Srpska's parliament rejected a governmental self-assessment of its work since its 1998 election.

Criticism ranged from Republika Srpska's lack of economic development, allegations that Dodik was responsible for high levels of corruption and claims he has put the institution of government above parliament.

The vote was a serious setback for Dodik, just two weeks after he had rallied the majority of Members ofParliament to win a confidence vote, by 44 votes against 22.

Opening what is expected to be several days of debate, Dodik blamed Republika Srpska's declining growth rate -- from 15.9 percent in 1998 to two percent last year -- on the regional impact of the Kosovo conflict.

He said some 30,000 Yugoslav refugees had arrived in the entity sice the conflict, complaining that just 15.1 percent of international aid to Bosnia since 1995 had gone to Republika Srpska.

An additional burden for the government, Dodik said, was 2.6 billion German marks (1.26 billion dollars) of foreign debt inherited from the former Yugoslavia.

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